Posts Tagged ‘The Oath’

The Last-Minute ND/NF 2010 Preview, Part 3: The Oath to Zanan-e badun-e mardan

March 24, 2010

Don’t cry no tears. All good things come to an end. So do our tardy previews. The New Directors/New Films festival lights up the spring season by bringing to New York the best debuts from festivals like Cannes and Sundance. In the final assortment, there’s a lauded love letter to cinema from Mia Hansen-Løve, the welcome return of Judy Berlin director Eric Mendelsohn and a notable French addition to the “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” genre.

Read the first part of our New Directors/New Films preview.
Read the second part of our New Directors/New Films preview.

The Oath

Abu Jandal and Salim Hamdan are buddies who took very different routes through al-Qaeda’s militant network. Jandal now works with Yemeni youth to temper their fundamentalism. Hamdan sits in Guantanamo, notorious as Osama bin Laden’s onetime chauffeur. The latest film from My Country, My Country director Laura Poitras is another unique look at the Middle East.

Le Pere de Mes Enfants (The Father of My Children)

French film producer Humbert Balsan helped bring works by Bela Tarr and Claire Denis to the public. His life and death inspired this acclaimed new feature from Mia Hansen-Løve, partner of Olivier Assayas. It’s a fresh take on Day for Night, with an overworked producer (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing) juggling family and the fact that there isn’t enough hours in the day to achieve cinematic greatness.

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: Festival Favorites, Part 3

March 11, 2010

A lot of quality rounds out the section seeking to capture the best of the fests. Winter’s Bone has already attracted garlands from Sundance and could become a film of the year. Then there’s Harmony Korine’s latest atrocity Trash Humpers. The real gem, though, may well be Det røde kapel, whose trailer implies it could be the looniest caper ever set in North Korea. Skip seeing that lousy R&B band and add these to your checklist. Click on the titles for trailers where available.

Read our SXSW Headliners Preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.
Read our SXSW 24 Beats Per Second preview.
Read our SXSW SW Global preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.
Read our SXSW Preview: Headliners here.
Read our SXSW 2010 Preview: Spotlight Premieres, Part 1 here.
Read our SXSW 2010 Preview: Spotlight Premieres, Part 2 here.

The Oath

My Country, My Country director Laura Poitras’ new doc reaches SXSW after hitting Sundance and Berlin. Poitras has taken a ride Osama bin Laden’s chauffeur and his brother-in-law. Both were former members of al Qaeda who ended up taking very different turns. In probing their choices, Poitras digs up the roots of fanaticism and hints at a future that lies beyond suicide bombings and online beheadings.

Det røde kapel (The Red Chapel)

Simon Jul Jorgensen and Jacob Nossell wanted to visit North Korea to perform their revue The Red Chapel. They invited director Mads Brügger along. He took a camera. What follows seems hardly believable, not least because one of the Korean-born comics is a spastic and everyone might be insane. Having seen the trailer, one YouTube commentator begs the question, “How did they get out alive?”

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Berlin 2010 Preview: Forum, Part 2

February 11, 2010

Forum is the section where Berlineastes seek out the freshest filmmakers doing their bit to push back the form’s parameters. The second part of our Forum preview kicks off with a conventional gangster story, but there’s wilder stuff in store. How about a musical version of a 1928 Communist classic from Japan, for instance? Or maybe a mad romance from Goa? Other highlights include the new film from Laura Poiras and more from the Japan, South Korea and Taiwan vanguard. Click on the titles to watch trailers.

Click here to read the first part of our Forum preview.

Indigène d’Eurasie (Eastern Drift)

Career criminal Gena has gone from extorting protection fees to dealing drugs. Now he wants out. His decision means going on the run. In a race across Europe reminiscent of Wim Wenders’s glory years, Gena reflects on his life. Through his frantic character, Lithuanian director and star Sharunas Bartas’s film sketches a criminal history of the continent.

Kanikōsen (The Crab Cannery Ship)

Takiji Kobayashi’s 1929 agitprop novel has come back into fashion thanks to discontent with the Japanese economic system. Director Sabu (Drive) adapts the time-honored story of a ship divided between downtrodden workers and vicious bosses, throwing in some singing and dancing along the way. With Nightmare Detective’s Ryuhei Matsuda.

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Sundance 2010: Winners and Losers

January 31, 2010

Last night the Sundance Jury handed out its prizes and audience awards. The big winners were the hill people noir Winter’s Bone and Obselidia, a romance which was only lacking a stamp reading “Sundance-approved.” More eyes will turn to the backrooms, where lucrative deals were being cut. Focus Features picked up Lisa Cholodeniko’s The Kids Are All Right, with Julianne Moore and Annette Bening as a lesbian couple. Lionsgate agreed to distribute Buried, where Ryan Reynolds struggles to escape a coffin armed only with his cellphone (and some great reception). Harvey Weinstein worked his silver-tongued magic and went home with the rights to The Tillman Story (formerly I’m Pat _________ Tillman) and Blue Valentine, which created Oscar talk for its leads Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Other buzz films included the Interwebs documentary Catfish and Banksy’s debut Exit Through the Gift Shop. Anyway, we’ve got some envelopes to open …

Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Dramatic Film

Winter’s Bone. A clear favorite among critics, Debra Granik’s adaptation of a novel by Daniel Woodrell is a chilling thriller set in the Ozarks. A teenager (Jennifer Lawrence) goes in search for her father, who skips jail after a bust for running a meth lab. Big trouble awaits. “My advice? Discover this one now.” said Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir. It’s been picked up for distribution by Roadside Attractions.

Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary

Restrepo. The documentary follows humpy journalist Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm) as he spends a year with the 173rd Airborne’s Second Platoon. The unit has been assigned to the deadliest valley in Afghanistan. “I’ve never seen combat footage like Junger and [co-director Tim] Hetherington get in Restrepo,” wrote Noel Murray in The Onion. “It’s raw, relentless, and made all the more unsettling by the fact that the soldiers can’t see who’s shooting at them.” National Geographic have the broadcast rights.

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Sundance 2010 Preview: U.S. Documentary Competition

January 11, 2010

Sundance kicked off in 1985 with a firm appreciation for non-fiction film, bestowing its first documentary prize on Joel Demott and Jeff Kreins’s Seventeen. Since then, it’s been the place to see eccentric portraits and reports from the current events frontline. As you might expect, this year’s line-up contains plenty of hotspots, including Yemen, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. There are also a selection of larger-than-life figures ranging from Jean-Michel Basquiat to the king of the American paparazzi. Expect plenty of discussion over that post-film hot chocolate.

Click here to read our U.S. Dramatic Competition Preview
Click here to read our International Documentary Competition Preview
Click here to read our International Dramatic Competition Preview

Bhutto

No question that Benazir Bhutto was a remarkable political figure. Chosen to lead her family’s political dynasty, the onetime Pakistani PM was on the verge of remarkable comeback before being shot in 2008. This biopic is in good hands. Director Johnny O’Hara won a Sundance Audience Award for his 2008 film Fields of Fuel. But he might have turned the cameras on his producer. Duane Baughman’s consulting firm worked on Hilary Clinton’s presidential run and was due to assist with Bhutto’s campaign. All of which suggests that this doc might skim over charges of corruption against the martyr and her cronies.

Casino Jack and the United States of Money

Filmmaker Alex Gibney leapt to the front rank when his Taxi to the Dark Side won the Best Documentary Oscar in 2008. His latest is a portrait of Jack Abramoff, the political lobbyist found guilty of fraud in 2006. (His Native American clients account for the “Casino Jack” tag.) Gibney has spoken of the fallen politico as a symptom of a wider malaise caused by campaign financing. “Jack is not a rotten apple; he’s proof that the barrel is rotten,” he told Sundance. “It’s a comedy, but the joke is on us.” Tom Delay plays Costello to Abramoff’s Abbott.

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